Every Child Deserves High Quality Education
Public Education in New York City is in serious trouble. Our schools are overcrowded. Development projects are evident in every neighborhood, yet, there is no comprehensive plan to build more schools and ease the pressure on existing schools that are already filled beyond capacity. The City\'s Capital Plan does not adequately address this problem nor include enough new schools or school seats. It is critical to require the City to allocate a sizable portion of the education budget to creating more schools and school seats. Too much emphasis on standardized testing. Our children are being constantly bombarded by standardized tests. When used alone, these test scores are not accurate assessments of reading comprehension or writing and math skills. Because these test scores are being used to evaluate not only children but teachers, principals and schools as a whole, more time is spent on preparing for tests and less on educating our children. Although, there is no evidence that these tests actually improve the quality of a child\'s education, every year the number of standardized tests increases. Our children need MORE resources, not LESS. The budget cut recently implemented by the Mayor and proposed by the Governor threaten to not only reduce the amount of professional development available to teachers, but could lead to increases in class sizes in the coming year. Small class sizes and teacher training are two major factors affecting teacher retention and the quality of our children\'s education. If principals choose to maintain class sizes and offer adequate professional development, they will be forced to cut services, many of which serve at-risk students. Mayoral control without appropriate oversight has proven to be detrimental. The Mayor, along with his Chancellor, has rolled out many new initiatives despite public outcry from both parents and the teachers\' union. Overhauling our education system must be done with input from and oversight by appropriate stakeholders. Therefore, we, the undersigned, urge the New York State Legislature to: 1.Ensure that a portion of the State funding is earmarked for creating more schools and school seats. 2.Weigh in on any city legislative proposals in the future that will affect school overcrowding (such as requiring all new development to contribute additional school seats). 3.Re-evaluate the way in which No Child Left Behind is promulgated by the State Education Department in such a way that assessments other than standardized tests are accepted. 4.Restore the education funding to the level that was promised by the Governor and ensure that the CFE funds be spent on class size reduction and other required programs under the terms of the CFE settlement. 5.If Mayoral control of the schools continues, require that an oversight body be established to create checks and balances.